Mars, Inc. Acquires Kevin’s Natural Foods in California

Mars, Inc., a multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products, based in Virginia, United States, acquired Kevin’s Natural Foods, a producer of healthy foods, based in California, United States, on July 5, 2023. The acquisition sees a push from Mars into businesses producing new healthier food options.

Transaction Summary

The Facts of the Acquisition

  • Target: Kevin’s Natural Foods is a producer of healthy, ready-to-eat meals and sauces. It is based in California and sells nationally through its website and food distributors.
  • Acquirer: Mars, Inc. is one of the largest private companies in the world. It is a multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet foods, and other food products. Its products are sold worldwide, and it has annual revenues of USD $45 billion.

Our Take on the Acquisition

Kevin’s (target) will operate as an independent division within Mars Foods & Nutrition, a segment of Mars, Inc. (acquirer). This will enable Kevin’s to maintain its entrepreneurial spirit while being supported by Mars to foster long-term growth. The acquisition aims to expand Mars further into the healthy and nutritious food sector, an area expected to see high growth in the future. With its established distribution, both national and international, Mars can immediately make Kevin’s meals, mainly sold in the United States, more widely available.

The Transaction

Date:July 5, 2023
Price:USD $800 million
Purpose: To expand into the healthy foods sector.
Acquirer’s Statement:Shaid Shah, global president, Mars Food & Nutrition“We are excited to welcome Kevin’s Natural Foods to the Mars Food & Nutrition family of businesses. We have been hugely inspired by Kevin’s, a business whose mission fits squarely with our purpose: Better Food Today. A Better World Tomorrow. Kevin’s products are of a very high quality, nutritious, and convenient, without compromising on flavor, and are enjoyed by an engaged and loyal customer base across North America. The Kevin’s Natural Foods team has delivered impressive growth since it was founded four years ago, and we look forward to drawing on our experience of nurturing and scaling founder-led brands to help bring their products to even more people.”

Target/Seller: Kevin’s Natural Foods

Company Information

Target:Kevin’s Natural Foods
Industry: Food and Beverage Healthy Foods
Type: Private, received one round of private equity funding
Employees: 180 (Source:
Locations:Head Office: 4335 N Star Way, Building E, Modesto, California, United States
Investors:TowerBrook Capital Partners: An investment management firm, spun out of Soros Fund Management, with assets under management of USD $13.7 billion. The investment was made in 2021. Total investment was not disclosed.
NewRoad Capital Partners: Private equity firm based in Arkansas, investing in growth equity and growth buyout opportunities. The investment was made in 2021. Total investment made was not disclosed.

Product Information 

Products:Sauces – A variety of specialty sauces made from healthy ingredients
Sous Vide – Cooked meat and fish produced by vacuum sealing and immersing in warm water
Market Reach:United States
United Kingdom

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $140 million (Source: Axios, a U.S. news website)
Revenue per Employee:USD $777,778 (i.e., USD $140 million / 180 employees = USD $777,778 – estimated based on the number of employees reported by Mars and revenue from Axios) 

Did You Know?

Sous vide involves vacuum sealing food in a bag and cooking it in a regulated water bath. Because the food is cooked at a precise temperature for a specific time, the results are consistent. Plus, the food is cooked in its juices, which ensures it is moist, juicy, and tender. 

Target/Seller Overview: Kevin’s Natural Foods

Kevin’s Natural Foods produces a line of healthy main courses, sides, and sauces. It is on a mission to make clean eating taste delicious while seamlessly fitting into any lifestyle. Kevin’s was born from a desire to help people eat healthier. Kevin’s flavorful, sous-vide mains and signature paleo, keto, and gluten-free certified sauces allow home chefs to “Hack Healthy” by preparing delicious meals in five minutes. With strict nutritious standards, mains and sauces contain zero refined sugar, artificial ingredients, grains, soy, antibiotics, or hormones. Kevin’s is dedicated to clean eating, and a clean planet, and is a Certified B Corporation

Kevin’s has a variety of main courses made from healthy ingredients.

Buyer/Acquirer: Mars, Inc.

Company Information

Buyer:Mars, Inc.
Industry: Food and Beverage
Type:Private, family-owned
Employees:140,000 (Source: company website)
Locations:Global Headquarters: 6885 Elm Street, McLean, Virginia 22101, United States

Regional Office #1: 3070 S. Champions Drive, Suite 105, Rogers, Arkansas 72758, United States

Regional Office #2: 4500 Atlanta Highway, Flowery Branch, Georgia 30542, United States
Regional Office #3: 209 W. Oakridge Drive, Albany, Georgia 31707, United States

Regional Office #4: 2800 North Route 47, Yorkville, Illinois 60560, United States
Regional Office #5: 15W660 79th Street, Burr Ridge, Illinois 60527, United States
Wrigley Global Headquarters: 1132 West Blackhawk Street, Chicago, Illinois 60642, United States
Foods National Headquarters: 1131 West Blackhawk Street, Chicgo, Illinois, United States

Regional Office #6: 100 Mars Blvd, Topeka, Kansas 66619, United States

Regional Office #7: 800 LaSalle Ave, Suite 1030, LaSalle Plaza, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55402, United States

Regional Office #8: 1098 North Broadway, Greenville, Mississippi 38702-1737, United States

Regional Office #9: 1 Sunset Way, Henderson, Nevada 89014, United States

New Jersey
Regional Office #10: 700 High Street, Hackettstown, New Jersey 07840, United States

Regional Office #11: 295 Brown Street, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania 17022-2192, United States

Regional Office #12: 3002 Jersey Pike Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421, United States
Regional Office #13: 3500 Peerless Road, NW, Cleveland, Tennessee 37312, United States
Petcare National Headquarters: 315 Cool Springs Boulevard, Franklin, Tennessee 37067, United States

Regional Office #14: 1001 Texas Central Parkway, Waco, Texas 76712, United States

Product Information 

Services:Veterinary Services: Hospital, diagnostic services and clinics for animals
Products:Confectionery: More than 100 brands of chocolates, gums, and other items.

Bounty – Coconut-filled, chocolate-enrobed candy bar
M&M’s – Multi-colored, button-shaped chocolates 
Maltesers – Spheroid, malted, milk center surrounded by milk chocolate
Mars – Chocolate bar consisting of caramel and nougat with milk chocolate
Snickers – Chocolate bar consisting of nougat topped with caramel and peanuts, all encased in milk chocolate
Twix – Caramel shortbread chocolate bar consisting of a biscuit applied with confectionery toppings and coatings

Pet Foods: More than 30 brands of products for pet consumption
Market Reach:Worldwide

Financial Information 

Revenue:USD $45 billion (2022) (Source: Forbes)
Revenue per Employee:USD $321,429 (i.e., USD $45 billion / 140,000 employees = USD $321,429 – estimated based on the number of employees and revenue from Forbes)

Buyer/Acquirer Overview: Mars, Inc.

Mars, Inc. is a U.S. multinational manufacturer of confectionery, pet food, and other food products and a provider of animal care services, with annual revenues of USD $45 billion in 2022. Mars is one of the largest privately held companies in the world and entirely owned by the Mars family. It operates in four business segments: Mars Wrigley Confectionery, Petcare, Food, and Mars Edge, which focuses on human health and nutrition. It employs 140,000 people in 80 countries, and its products are sold worldwide.

Mars Food & Nutrition is a segment of Mars, Inc. with 2,000 associates across 30 countries. It has some of the world’s leading food brands – Ben’s Original, Masterfoods, Seeds of Change, Tasty Bite, and Dolmio, to name a few.

Mars’ most popular brands.
Mars offers confectionery, pet foods, and other food products globally.

Previous Acquisitions by Mars, Inc.

  • HESKA (2023) – Heska, based in Colorado, United States, develops medical devices to improve the quality of pet care and to ensure positive outcomes for veterinarians and their patients.
  • Trü Frü (2022) – Trü Frü, based in Utah, United States, offers high-quality, one-of-a-kind snacks made from real fruit and dipped in premium chocolate. 
  • Champion Petfoods (2022) – An independent maker of high-protein and nourishing pet foods in Alberta, Canada.
  • Nom Nom (2022) – A healthy pet food producer based in Tennessee, United States.
  • PrettyLitter (2021) – Producer of lightweight litter monitors that monitor feline health by changing colors when it detects potential issues. The company is based in California, United States.
  • KIND Snacks (2020) – A producer of healthy snacks, based in New York, United States.
  • Foodspring (2019) – A premium fitness food and sports nutrition company based in Berlin, Germany.
  • VCA Hospitals (2017) – VCA is the leading provider of pet healthcare services with a nationwide clinical laboratory system. The company is based in California, United States.

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